Image Bank

Hartlepool

Ration Book Back

a ration book for utility clothing

During WWII most essential items, such as food and clothing, were in short supply. Rationing was introduced to make sure everyone got a fair share. This picture shows a ration book for clothing. Each person was entitled to the equivalent of one new outfit a year. Once the coupons had been used up you couldn’t buy any more clothes, even if you had enough money.

Everyone had to ‘make do and mend’. Children wore clothes and shoes handed down from their older brothers and sisters. Old jumpers were unpicked and the wool used to knit new garments. Trousers and skirts were darned and patched, and when they were too old to be worn any more they were cut up and made into clip mats.

Food was also in short supply. Bread and dripping (the fat from a joint of meat) was a popular meal. Bananas were almost impossible to get, so instead people used to eat boiled parsnips mashed- up and mixed with banana flavouring!